Protecting the interests of patients and their families
National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS) is committed towards delivering medical excellence and genuine care to our patients. We aim to serve you and your family by providing quality healthcare built on values of compassion, respect, and integrity. As your healthcare provider, our medical professionals endeavour to treat your medical condition and safeguard your well-being regardless of your age, race, language, religion or social status.
Care and Respect
- At NHCS, you shall be treated with dignity and in a humane and safe environment. Your personal safety includes being free from physical restraints or seclusion, unless required as part of your overall medical treatment. Appropriate protection will be accorded to the disabled, elderly and those with special needs.
- We respect your personal values, religious and ethnic beliefs and need for privacy. You may express your religious and/or ethnic practices so long as they do not cause disharmony or conflict. If you require support in this area, please inform your nurse in the ward who can arrange for a religious counsellor to visit you.
- We understand that making decisions about medical treatment for a serious illness can be difficult for you and your family. If required, you can request to involve the Bioethics Committee to look into the issues on the medical management together with you and your family. We will respect and comply with your decisions made in accordance with your Advance Medical Directive1 if you have already made one.
- If you wish to obtain a second opinion from other healthcare professionals within NHCS or other healthcare organisations on your diagnosis and treatment plans, please talk to any members of your care team.
Confidentiality and Privacy
We are bound by law and professional ethics to keep your medical records, including information from the Electronic Medical Records Exchange2 and all aspects of care rendered to you strictly confidential.
This information will only be shared by those involved in providing the care to you.
This information may also be shared with other staff in the hospital administration for the purpose of hospital operations, eg. monitoring of the services rendered to you by our staff members.
NHCS is a national referral centre and preferred training centre in the region. It is also the major centre for medical and clinical trials research in this region. Thus there may be a need to view medical records for medical research and training, as authorised by the law or NHCS. However, those who view your records are under legal obligation not to disclose them to anyone.
We may also be required by law to disclose the information in certain circumstances, such as for the purpose of notifying the relevant authorities of infectious diseases.
Other than for those mentioned above, we will obtain a written authorisation from you should we need to release your information to others.
Explanation and Information About Your Treatment
As a tertiary centre, NHCS trains doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. Trainees in medical, nursing and allied health disciplines may participate in your care as appropriate under the supervision of the physician in charge.
You are entitled to information on your medical condition, conveyed in a way you can understand. This information shall include (except in emergencies and where applicable):
• Treatment options (including surgery process)
• Known outcome
• Known risks of treatment
• Known risks and consequences of non-treatment
• Estimated hospital bill
• Plan for your continuous care after discharge
• Names of the healthcare professionals responsible for your treatment.
The information provided will help you decide whether to give consent to, or refuse the proposed treatment and/or procedure.
If you choose not to undergo treatment, or leave the hospital against the doctor’s advice, to the extent permitted by law, you may do so after signing a form to request discharge against medical advice. You will be fully responsible for the consequences of your decision.
Seeking a second opinion
If you wish to seek a second opinion from a doctor who is not from NHCS, please inform your doctor in-charge and he or she will advise you on the arrangements.
Some patients may be invited to participate in clinical research. Before conducting a medical research involving human subjects, we are required to obtain a written consent from the patients to participate in the research project. You can choose not to participate or to opt out at any point during the research project, even after giving your written consent. Your decision not to participate will not compromise the level of care you are entitled to.
Organ donation is the only way to give better quality of life for patients suffering from organ failures, such as heart, liver and kidney failure. The Human Organ Transplant Act or HOTA allows for the organs (kidneys, liver, heart and corneas) of those who have died in the hospitals, usually from causes such as accidents, bleeding in the brain or brain tumours, to be removed for the purpose of transplantation. Applicable to all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents between the ages of 21 and 60 years, HOTA allows many patients to lead a normal, active life again. It also regulates living donor transplantation.
Those who do not wish to donate any organs after death may opt-out of HOTA and their wish will be respected. The opt-out form is available at the hospital, and polyclinics or from the Organ Donor Registry at Block 3 Room 9, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore 169608, Tel: 63214390. For more information, please contact HOTA Hotline: 1800-2254-122 or visit the Ministry of Health website at www.moh.gov.sg.
While we have the responsibility to safeguard your interests as our patient, it is important for you to play your part in the entire treatment process. We want to give you the best possible care that meet your needs and to address the anxieties of your family. We ask that you and your family:
1. Provide complete information on your medical histories (including allergies and medicines you are taking), financial circumstances, and other relevant details to enable us to help you.
2. Comply with the treatment plans given to you by our healthcare professionals.
3. Inform us when you encounter problems that prevent you from complying with the treatment plans.
4. Advise us of changes in your medical condition.
5. Settle promptly the required fees and charges for the medical services provided to you.
6. Appoint a decision-maker to represent your wishes about your care to us in the event that you are unable to do so.
7. Treat all staff and other patients and visitors with due respect and courtesy.
8. Comply with the hospital regulations such as policy on visitation.
9. Ask questions when you do not understand any instruction so that we know you are capable of taking care of yourself at home after discharge.
10.Inform us in advance if you are unable to keep your follow-ups and appointments.
We value your feedback on our continuous efforts to improve our services for the benefit of our patients. If you have any suggestion or wish to share your experience about our services, you may wish to call our Service Quality Officer at Tel: 6704 2379, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank you for placing your trust in us and we wish you a pleasant stay or visit at NHCS.
This document is also available in the following languages (please click to download a copy):
1Advance Medical Directive is a legal document which you sign in advance to inform the doctor treating you that you do not want any life-sustaining treatment to prolong your life in the event that you become terminally ill and unconscious.
2Electronic Medical Record Exchange (EMRX) is an initiative by the Ministry of Health and the two public healthcare clusters, Singapore Health Services (which NHCS is part of) and National Healthcare Group to share electronic medical records across all public hospitals and polyclinics in Singapore. EMRX enables medical staff involved in your care to meet your unique medical needs better and faster. The following information may be shared:
• Discharge summary which summarises your recent hospitalisation record
• Laboratory, X-ray and other radiological test results
• Operation reports
• Medicines prescribed
To find out more about Advance Medical Directive and EMRX, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website at www.moh.gov.sg
Updated August 2014